Close Out the Year—or Start the New One—With a Good Book

Close Out the Year—or Start the New One—With a Good Book

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Christmas is almost here, which means some of us might be getting a little nervous about finishing our shopping list! Thankfully, with the advent of quick shipping and, for even faster delivery, ebooks, finding and giving that last minute gift doesn’t have to be overly stressful. Or perhaps you’re done with your shopping, but are looking to set a some reading-related goals for the new year. But where to start? What to read?

Whether you’re looking to close out 2018 with a good book, or start the new one with a fresh stack of reading, below is a list of books that I’ve enjoyed and recommend.


I love reading biographies, as long as they aren’t written in a dry, textbook format. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Nine Day Queen of England (Lady Jane Grey) by Faith Cook. The reader will be encouraged to read of the enduring faith of such a young lady toward her Savior.

  • Elizabeth Prentiss: More Love to Thee by Sharon James. This book is a gift of encouragement as the reader discovers how Prentiss clung to the grace of Christ and exalted Him in even the most difficult circumstances.

  • Reformation Women by Rebecca VanDoodewaard. We know the names of many great men of the Reformation, but women played an exceedingly important role in this time in Church history, too.


We never stop learning, but delving into theology and doctrine doesn’t have to be cumbersome or laborious. These books are challenging but extremely accessible.

  • The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges. These podcasts (Part 1 and Part 2) discuss this marvelous book.

  • All That’s Good: Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment by Hannah Anderson. The author does a wonderful job of helping the reader realize that a focus on the good things God has given us will be a far greater help to us in the practice of discernment than will centering on the bad.

  • Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification by Sinclair Ferguson. When I first received this book, I let it rest on my shelf for awhile, fearful that it might harbor a legalistic tone, of which I was weary. When I finally did pick it, I realized my fears were unfounded. Ferguson is adept at balancing law and grace, always pointing to the hope of the gospel, who of course is Jesus Christ Himself.

Historical Fiction

This is a new genre for me, and I’m finding that I’m really enjoying it.

  • The Girl Empress by Amy Mantravadi. This is the first in a series (The Chronicles of Maud), and I’m eagerly awaiting the release of the next book.

  • Caught in the Web: A Tale of Tudor Times by Faith Cook. Cook is a skilled biographer, and she puts her historical knowledge to creative use in her fiction.

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